Better Sleep Means Faster Times: Nine Tips for Better Sleep

You can become a better swimmer without even working out!

Whether you are a swimmer or a designated driver (oops, loving parent!), waking up for morning practices is never easy. If you are having a hard time waking up in the morning, it might mean that you are sleep deprived.


Studies have shown that taking 10-20 minutes to fall asleep is considered normal. If you take less time, you could be sleep deprived. If you take more time, you might want to try some of these helpful tips to fall asleep faster.




1. Sleep on your side


It might seem harmless to sleep on your back, but studies have shown that it can worsen your quality of sleep and make you more likely to have sleep apnea and lower back pain.


Sleeping on your side is also better for your heart since it prevents heartburn and reflux.



2. Take a warm shower before bed


Studies have shown that a high core body temperature before bedtime correlates to difficulty falling asleep. Taking a warm shower before bedtime slows your metabolism and reverses this effect.


Further, having a consistent shower schedule before bed can signal to your body that it is time to sleep. (If you are familiar, you can think of this as a Pavlovian cue!)



3. Sleep in a 65 degree room


Sleeping in a cool room has the exact same effect as taking a warm shower before bed: It decreases your body temperature. The National Sleep Foundation recommends setting the room at 65 degrees to slow down your heart rate and digestion, and help you fall asleep.



4. Wear socks in the evening


You probably either love or hate wearing socks in bed, but the National Sleep Foundation has found that wearing them can seriously help you fall asleep quickly.


Warm hands and feet mean quicker sleep, so if you want to go above and beyond you might even want to wear gloves are you are getting ready for bed in the evening!



5. Try aromatherapy with lavender


Lavender oil relaxes your body and lowers your blood pressure. Even just sniffing the oil has been proven to help you have a deep and satisfying sleep.



6. Have dinner by candlelight


Sleep benefits aside, we should all have dinner by candlelight more often!


But if you really need the extra incentive, research from the Harvard Health Publications shows that exposure to any light makes it more difficult for the body to produce melatonin. Melatonin is important for sleep, so avoiding light (especially blue light and LED) by using candles can get you in the mood. The mood for sleep, that is!



7. Avoid late night snacks and the wrong foods


Digestion is an important prerequisite for sleep, so if you eat fatty and spicy foods your body might need extra time to digest.


On the other hand, eating foods rich in potassium, magnesium, carbohydrates, vitamin D, and selenium at least four hours before bedtime can help you get a restful night of sleep. In other words, soy products, bananas, milk, avocados, egg yolks, oily fish, and spinach are your new best friends.



8. Start meditating


Meditating is not just trendy, it is also a great way to help you sleep.


Anxiety and stress are huge contributing factors to insomnia, but meditating for just 10-15 minutes a day can decrease your stress enough to alleviate symptoms of insomnia and improve your quality and duration of sleep.



9. Let your imagination run free


It might sound counterintuitive, but according to an Oxford study, practicing peaceful visualization before bed can help you fall asleep 20 minutes faster. So stop counting sheep and start visualizing relaxing scenes like waterfalls and gentle rivers!


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